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Bull: a global healthcare partner

Posted on 01 June 2013 by Pierre Picard

An ageing population – along with a rise in chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s – will be the big challenge for society over the coming years, speeding up changes already under way in the health sector. The need for faster and more accurate diagnoses, for greater continuity and efficiency of care, to overcome geographic discrepancies and staff shortages has to be set against increasingly strict regulatory demands and tightly controlled healthcare budgets.

The only way to balance this equation is through the targeted use of technology. The latest technological advances (HPC, Big Data, M2M, Cloud computing, security and mobility) align precisely with the most critical issues: sharing and outsourcing of resources; the expansion in walk-in clinics and tele-medicine; exponential growth in secure data storage, processing and sharing of secure data; patient modeling and virtualization; and the simulation and processing of the huge amount of data generated by medical research.

Bull: a key player

In all these areas, Bull offers three scarce skills that make it a key player in this sector. Firstly, its recognized expertise in all aspects of health technology: from computer simulation to vendor-neutral archiving (VNA), from Cloud computing to accreditation management. Secondly  Bull’s 30-year experience of working with healthcare bodies, understanding their specific business issues, diverse needs and rigorous requirements. In France, for example, Bull is involved with over 300 hospitals and plays an active role in many modernization programs. Finally  the Group’s integration skills. Healthcare professionals need to rely on an IT partner that can work alongside them, and commit to deliver every aspect of the value chain, if their complex and innovative projects are to succeed. As part of a comprehensive offering in this sector, Bull’s full spectrum of expertise means it can respond to every situation appropriately.

From consulting to delivery

With this extensive experience, Bull can get involved in projects from the start – providing consultancy and program management support – to help healthcare establishments optimize their business processes, define their IT architectures and choose the best applications and technologies to build integrated, secure and powerful information systems that evolve in line with medical practice.

Drawing on its know-how, Bull delivers infrastructures that can change as needs evolve: to process escalating amounts of data; to share information; to create new practices such as shared patient records, mobility, tele-medicine; for ever higher availability and regulatory compliance… And thanks to its close partnerships with specialist software publishers and its expertise in Open Source, Bull develops and integrates secure, interoperable applications – such as computerized patient records, medical imaging (RIS/PACS[1]) and collaborative solutions – that allow health professionals and administrators to share information and do their jobs more effectively. Leiden University Hospital’s Big Data solution for DNA sequencing in The Netherlands and the probative value VNA system at Nancy’s hospital in France (see next page) are excellent examples of these new-generation solutions.

Critical systems and innovation

Bull also uses its technical expertise to help manufacturers of medical imaging equipment[2] and pharmaceutical companies, as well as specialist RIS/PACS software publishers. Bull Critical Systems’ expertise in critical systems means it is well placed to deliver projects meeting very stringent standards (IEC 62304 and 60601). Whether it involves developing new functionality for a world-renowned medical imaging manufacturer (as a subcontractor) or helping a start-up take a prototype system right through to international roll-out, Bull Critical Systems uses all its experience and resources to support the most innovative healthcare projects in medical imaging, robotics, simulation, traceability, tele-diagnosis and more. For example, the company has joined forces with T3D-Medical to develop Bull3DView, a unique system in the world that gives clinicians an automatic 3D view of DICOM[3] images without the need for special glasses, for unrivalled understanding of the patient’s condition.

HPC: a major asset for research

As one of the world’s leading specialists in HPC for scientific applications, Bull’s bullx™ supercomputers are widely used for medical research, such as the work on Alzheimer’s disease carried out using GENCI’s CURIE petascale supercomputer. In medical research, especially gene science, which involves analyzing massive amounts of data, sheer processing power is not always enough. So Bull uses its bio-computing expertise – in the form of software and consulting – to help researchers and clinicians obtain rapid and useable results. In Spain, for example, Bull partners with several research centers including the National Genome Analysis Centre (no.2 in Europe) and the Prince Felipe Bio-Medical Research Center.

Security is everywhere

In research, care and health administration alike, one concern is universal: security. The information being processed is highly confidential and subject to strict rules in terms of patient consent when it comes to accessing, using and keeping their personal medical information. In over a hundred hospitals and groups of establishments worldwide, Bull has implemented Identity and Access Management solutions from its subsidiary Evidian, to manage health professionals’ secure and audited access to medical applications from any device they may be using.

With its leading-edge health IT solutions across all today’s key areas of concern, Bull is also looking to the future with technologies that apply quite naturally in the medical field: secure Cloud computing, which opens up the potential for much greater sharing of information; M2M, which will be at the heart of telemedicine and Big Data, which will reinforce preventive practices.

Bull is already working on the ‘Virtual Patient’, as new-generation processing power and storage look set to massively speed up research, as well as predictive, preventive, personalized and participative medicine, especially in genomics. The Group is also working on care pathways for the ‘Digital Patient’, for more effective management of serious long-term chronic diseases: making it easier to care for patients at home (which many prefer) and saving money for health providers. Now and in the future, Bull is well placed to be a natural, global partner in healthcare.

More information :

[1] RIS/PACS: Radiology Information Systems/Picture Archiving and Communications Systems

[2] For imaging systems using different types of radiation including ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-rays and gamma scintigraphy

[3] DICOM: Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine

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